We at Code for San Francisco have one goal: to positively impact our community by means of the skills at our disposal, which for many of us means leveraging various technologies to meet a community need. This goal can be often distilled into two words: civic tech. And here in the Bay Area we have at our disposal a seemingly endless supply of technologists: developers, designers, data scientists, product managers, and many many more. I think in our city, as a collective community dedicated to civic tech, we do not have a lack of engagement on the latter half of that phrase. The former half, however, the civic in civic tech, is the real tricky part to get right. If the past election has taught us nothing, it has taught us that civic engagement with our communities is not something that can be underestimated nor ignored.
Toward that end, the leadership team at Code for San Francisco has decided to pilot a new section of our hack night: The Weekly Community Forum. Inspired by our sister brigade in Chicago, Chi Hack Night and their Community feedback session held last week, this guided brainstorming session, recurring every Wednesday, is designed to help our volunteers learn and target the specific civic needs of our unique community. One civic-centric question is asked every week, and answers are solicited from our attendees, written anonymously on post-it notes, and collected for review and discussion. It not only helps us as a leadership team to target the focused of our members, but it helps us all get out of it normal routine and into the #civictech mindset for the evening.
We ran this for the first time last Wednesday with encouraging results. The question posed received a lot of diverse responses, and showed a lot how our members are feeling right now. We'll be changing these questions every week, each building on the last, to help inform our technology decisions.
So without further ado, I give you this week's responses.
How are you feeling about your community and government right now?
The general feeling that came out of these responses was a feeling if fear and uncertainty with our government and community on a national level. We also received a lot of positive responses about our state and local government.
This week we'll be discussing a new question based off the previous: There is a lot of anger and resentment in our community and America today. How can we as a community of civic technologists direct it towards positive action? Stay tuned for more updates as the forum progresses!